Zimbabwe education rendered worthless

THERE can be no running away from the fact that instead of education being the great leap out of poverty that it used be, it has become an embodiment of pain, ridicule and heartache.

Source: Zimbabwe education rendered worthless – NewsDay Zimbabwe October 11, 2016

guest column: LEARNMORE ZUZE

No one could have captured it well than a frustrated old man at last week’s University of Zimbabwe graduation ceremony, who said: “It is the greatest heartbreak to go through four painstaking years selling cattle to send through a child to university and thereafter struggle again to buy them something, as debasing as an undergarment because they cannot afford.”

It was quite an emotional outpour. Whether one is political or apolitical, it is undeniable; the government has rendered education useless. In the last six or seven years, the many graduation ceremonies around the country’s institutions of higher learning have become nothing, but conveyor belts churning out talented brains into the streets.

It is shocking to think of brilliant brains lying idle because of a failed system of governance. We have a system that does not pause to think of the suffering majority. A system that gives no regard whatsoever to the catastrophe in this once-prosperous nation. Technically speaking, the many universities have been ironically turned into institutions that fuel the already high unemployment rate.

It is sad that, of the past 36 years, the last 16 have virtually obliterated the little there was to yearn for of the Zimbabwean education system. To add salt to injury, we have a government that likes to go to town about Zimbabwe’s literacy rate being among the highest in Africa, but surely people do not live on literacy. In fact, it is degrading when literacy has to be accompanied by poverty, as is the Zimbabwean case. It is never easy when university graduates have to be seen standing behind vegetable stalls in a country where government makes a name for massive corruption, gobbling millions of dollars.

What really irks about the Zimbabwean situation is the indifference of those governing this country to the agony of the generality of Zimbabweans. The unrelenting economic crisis has seen a whopping 5 000 companies shutting down and over

80 000 people losing their jobs, yet the Zanu PF-led government has not seen the urgency in it. It is even pointless talking about the promised 2,2 million jobs as it becomes clear with only a year to go to the next elections that Zanu PF threw sand in the electorate’s eyes.

A host of other electoral promises to the masses — included 250 000 low-income housing units, 310 public schools and 300 clinics — were made, but it is apparent this was mere talk; the reality is the unrelenting poverty Zimbabweans live with daily. Recent reports indicate that more than 40 000 graduates from universities and other tertiary institutions have resorted to vending to eke out a living and this does not, in the slightest, prick the government’s conscience.

The crisis in this country becomes more defined when Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa puts it in the open that at least 70% of the country’s 13 million people are living in poverty. There is absolutely no distinction between those who have put in years of study towards attaining an education and those who haven’t. The government must admit that its policies have led us into this economic abyss we find ourselves in.

When he launched the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper in Harare, late in September, Chinamasa admitted that the effects of the country’s economic crisis were mostly felt in the social sectors, where thousands continue to lose their jobs and children also continue dropping out of school.

Against this background, we have an elite ruling class, whose children are treated to the best foreign, usually “imperialist”, schools and have access to the best medical healthcare, while presiding over a country with clinics and hospitals lacking basic medical drugs.

Surely, there should be some pride in governing a healthy and well-fed people, but it boggles the mind how, honestly, our rulers go to sleep when children are dying from treatable diseases and, worse, when engineers, lawyers and chemists are scrounging for a living owing to their mode of governance.

Thousands of Zimbabwean graduates have trooped to foreign lands where they have taken up anything that makes them survive, yet the government even has the temerity to talk of “brain drain”. People do not send their children to school for the sake of it neither are they charmed by literacy rate statistics: People need to survive and that is government’s role to ensure a decent living for its people. It’s not about power and pontificating at public galleries, as it is about delivering on electoral promises. There is very little to expect from a government that has dismally failed to live up to expectations of its promises.

Never had it been seen in Zimbabwean history that graduands demonstrate on the grand day, but we all saw it last week. It can only point to the fact that the centre cannot hold. Please bring back the decency that comes with education.

Learnmore Zuze writes in his own capacity. E-mail: lastawa77@gmail.com



  • comment-avatar
    R Judd 6 years ago

    Mmm, education does not come with an automatic right to live off the fat of the land. This is the thinking that has got us to where we are now. There has to be a measure of actual ability and enterprise. If you have these things often times you are creating wealth and employment not consuming them

  • comment-avatar
    william mills 6 years ago

    There is great confusion throughout the entire world about education and intelligence. For example senior members of Zimbabwe’s government are the bluest of the blue ribbon people almost all of whom have doctorates. Some have many doctorates . Even the presidents beautiful trophy wife was able to acquire a doctorate in approximately 6 weeks. She is so smart! Honest Education is the experience based acquisition of information. Intelligence is related to education only in that the higher one’s IQ the easier it is to do the advanced level university academic work necessary to acquire higher degrees. One’s education level does not change one’s intelligence. A person with a low IQ and a doctorate university degree is still stupid and a person with a high IQ who is illiterate is still intelligent. We may be on to something here as it relates to the government.

  • comment-avatar

    The situation you describe is further evidence of the need for a “development from below” approach to development generally. This will not happen while decision makers are educated in and exercise a “top down” approach to organising and development.

    Please remember the “developed”countries today started with development from below in small enterprises.

    The solution seems to be educate younger people in a “development from below” approach.

    To do this I have devised the low –cost Integrative Improvement Institutes Project as described at http://integrative-thinking.com/index.php?cID=89 which could be implemented in all educational institutions to develop young entrepreneurs to drive development from below.

    In the face of entrenched top down thinking in existing educational institutions perhaps the project could be initiated by organisations working in humanitarian aid and spread by them as they undertake their daunting task.

  • comment-avatar

    May I suggest all educational institutions provide short courses in development from below – the way in which “developed” countries started.

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    The education in Zim is inappropriate & does not meet our needs e.g amost graduands require administrative jobs and are not trained to develop the country! It hurts when the ‘well read’ fail to even come up with technology to produce sweets!

  • comment-avatar
    Harrison 6 years ago

    All replies here are fuelled with words of Masters and so called doctorates, we want simply explanation to solve present situation in Zimbabwe job industry.
    Get rid of all present ZanuPF and remove presidency, vices secretaries, am sure ministers will do the job better and have the benefit of office termination anytime, pay police adequately and they will wipe out corruption and restore law and order, downsize army, and abolish CIO useless department, This kind of set up will attract legal investors and promote growth in the job market, use all the farming colleges to work with farmers union to implement a fair distribution land policy and drive farming back to the top. Minister of minds will be under microscope to revamp mining industry, 15 million is a small population to feed in comparison with the country’s wealth,